It is always an unusual event when you copy someone else and end up discovering that you made the original.
As I mentioned last winter in “Camp Obama“, the President and First Lady might have considered breaking ground on their starter garden in private rather than in public.
Maybe it’s just my innate sense of caution, but I feel that they would have had a luckier outcome up in the hills of Maryland rather than the klieg-lighted fishbowl of the White House. However, kudos to the administration for giving it a try.
The problem, apparently, is they didn’t do a soil test to discover the toxic waste in the sludge in the lawn. Nevertheless we at Burpee were so inspired by the First Lady that we created an exact replica of the White House garden here at Fordhook Farm. We simply used the diagram they provided and as close an approximation of the cultivars as we could guess.
You can see the results in the photos below. Thank goodness, we didn’t have any lead or heavy metals in our soil. We simply used a little bit of granular fertilizer at the beginning of the season.
In order to complete the scene for the press release shown below, I decided to wear white–as in White House–and include my black dog, Nathan, as in “Bo”.
We planted a second sowing of salad greens and brassicas for the fall. These pictures were taken just a couple days ago. Anyone who takes us up on our offer to join us at our Fall Heronswood Open will be able to see the White House Garden for themselves. Since the president’s staff down in D.C. is replacing the soils at the site, the gardens aren’t there anymore. Therefore, what started out as a copy, became the original.
Hope to see you at the Open, September 25 and 26.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
BURPEE VERSION OF WHITE HOUSE GARDEN REAPS BOUNTIFUL HARVEST
President Obama’s decision to plant a garden at the White House has been welcome news to both America’s gardeners and non-gardeners.
Inspired by the First Family’s example, W. Atlee Burpee & Co. decided to plant its own version at Fordhook Farm in Doylestown, PA. Fordhook is where the nation’s leading home gardening company trials most of the vegetables it sells by catalogue, at retail stores and on the internet. According to the man responsible, the garden’s results have been outstanding.
“The White House Garden has done a great job of showcasing the advantages of growing your own vegetables,” says George Ball, chairman of Burpee and proprietor of Fordhook Farm. “In creating our Fordhook version of the garden, we chose to make some alterations in what we planted in view of soil conditions and typical weather conditions experienced over a long period of time.”
“While we included some heirloom varieties,” Mr. Ball notes, “We were careful to include hybrids that we felt would produce in greater quantities and superior quality.”
“Gardeners in the Northeast who planted heirloom tomatoes organically this year had a poor harvest–due to the long spell of gray, damp days that resulted in the well-known Tomato Blight of 2009. Most heirlooms had no resistance to this blight. There was little even the most experienced gardener could do to contain it.”
What will happen to the bountiful harvest predicted for Burpee’s White House Garden?
“We have an Autumn Garden Tour which will be open to the public scheduled for September 25 & 26,” says Mr. Ball. He adds, “We are considering a special Presidential Luncheon if President Obama or The First Lady could attend. As fellow gardeners, we will have plenty to talk about.” Plans for the luncheon menu will include a full range of freshly harvested vegetables.